Atheists excited that the Ten Commandments display will no longer be seen may have only temporary cause to celebrate, because it looks like they’ll be seeing the display in thousands of other places around the community instead.
Three Pennsylvania churches have responded to the removal of a Ten Commandments display on public high school property by distributing 1,500 signs that feature God’s famed rules for humanity.
Debate raged earlier this year when the New Kensington-Arnold School District removed the Ten Commandments display from Valley High School, but three churches — Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Church of North Huntingdon, St. Agnes Church of North Huntingdon and Immaculate Conception Church of Irwin — decided to take action, The Christian Post reported.
Those churches handed out signs featuring the Ten Commandments all over town to residents who were interested in taking a stand on the dispute; locals then posted the placards in their yards.
Father John Moineau of Immaculate Conception and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton told The Christian Post that he felt it was a good opportunity for people to defend religious freedom, but he offered up two additional explanations.
“The second reason was to awaken the natural law that has been written on every human heart and resonating in each soul,” he said. “In the face of relativism society needs to know that these truths are loving truths that lead to harmony, happiness and the fullness of life.”
The third reason, Moineau said, was to offer a reminder to every person who saw the signs that God commands people to love others, to show mercy and to remember a “merciful God that forgives.”
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, an atheist activist group, claimed victory earlier this year after the New Kensington-Arnold School District announced plans to remove the six-foot Ten Commandments display.
“The federal lawsuit was victoriously settled on Feb. 15, 2017, when the school district agreed to remove the Ten Commandments marker, and pay attorneys’ fees of $163,500, of which more than $40,000 will go to FFRF for its attorney time and reimbursement of costs,” read a statement on the FFRF website.
The legal battle touched off in Sept. 2012 when the FFRF wrote a letter telling the district that the monument was illegal.
Officials responded by defending its presence, which led to a legal back and forth that didn’t conclude until the atheist group finally won a settlement earlier this year. TribLIVE.com has more on the history:
In a highly-publicized case, a monument with the Ten Commandments was moved in October 2015 from outside Connellsville Area Junior High to the Connellsville Church of God, which is adjacent to the entrance of Connellsville Area Senior High School.
The monument was boarded up in 2012 after the Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a lawsuit on behalf of a student in the district. That battle over the monument’s location spawned a Thou Shall Not Move organization that opposed moving the monument from where it had been since 1957.
For now, the battle is over, but the presence of the Ten Commandments on private property is more pronounced than ever.